Hey guys! I forgot to bore you with these…

Posted by Lipglossiping On August - 1 - 2013

So, yeah… I’ve been back off holiday for what feels like forever and I haven’t posted up any of my snaps.  I’m slipping.  You thought you’d gotten away with it for just a minute there didn’t you?

So, anyway… remember we were visiting mid-Wales to suss out its potential as a permanent residence for the family?  Well, I really liked it.  I didn’t mean to really like it… infact, if anything, I secretly hoped to find some fundamental flaw that would mean any hard decisions were taken out of my realm of responsibility.  I’ve got such cold feet now.

We focused our attentions on a town called Builth Wells… it’s remote (by my standards) but not too remote.  I mean, it has a cinema and stuff… probably showing films from the 1930s but well, it’s a start right?  It also seems to contain some of the happiest, friendliest, people I’ve come across on any of my holidays.  It was kinda comical… both me and Paul had been a little apprehensive about whether people would be friendly (I’ve had bad experiences in North Wales) but we walked into a tea-room and literally everyone was leaning across tables talking to one another… and then they started chatting away to us too.  Leila was in her element being fussed over by all the nanas… seriously working the floor like a pro.

We also went north to Llandrindod Wells (gorgeous houses, depressed-feeling town), Rhyader (lovely but probably a bit too remote), and south to Brecon (more going on but also more £££), we’re a little bit flummoxed to be honest, dazed and confused.  Leila went for another pony ride in the Brecon Beacons (still loving it), we picknicked all over the place and celebrated the glorious weather by eating al-fresco every night.

We stayed here and negotiated a great deal for a last minute break, and bar one really uncomfortable futon (there are other beds), I’d totally recommend the accommodation.  There’s also this crazy little suspension bridge just down the road from where we stayed that I was too chicken shit to drive across.  Honestly though, would you have done it?  I don’t even know how many tonnes an average car is… let alone one carrying the three of us after a pub lunch.

Anyway, one of my main reasons for choosing the area was down to many childhood memories of spending time a little north of here in the Elan Valley.  It’s a little gem and a very underrated tourist attraction.  If you live in the Midlands and haven’t heard of it, double shame on you because the area supplies all your drinking water!  Check out some of the scenery from around the region below.

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All in all, we spent a lovely 4 days mooching around and boring Leila to tears looking in every. estate. agent’s. window.  I always remember my parents doing that to me whenever we went on holiday, poor little sod.  If you’re in the UK, hope you enjoyed the heatwave that July brought with it.  That’s it now, it’s downhill all the way to Christmas!  What a thoroughly depressing thought!

Have you had your summer holiday already or is the best yet to come?


Ciao for Now!

Posted by Lipglossiping On July - 15 - 2013

I’m off to the wilds of Wales for a week to enjoy my upcoming birthday under the stars.  Well, sort of under the stars… I’m not quite that brave.  We’ve rented one of those glamping cabins, camping for wimps… you know the type, so I’ll be hairdryer-less for the week and already, I’m feeling a little bit twitchy.

I’m not promising any posts because I’m not sure I’ll have any internet access (oh please God let me have 3G) and I’ve been too busy this past week to schedule anything in, I’m sure you’ll survive without me for a wee while… just don’t cheat on me with those other bloggers too hard ok?

Source and Credit: http://v-g.me.uk

Source and Credit: http://v-g.me.uk

I’m a wee bit anxious about this trip to be honest, you see… we have a bit of an ulterior motive going on…

In an ideal world, this time next year… we’ll be out of the flat and living somewhere we can call our own.  I’ve always grown up with a close connection to Wales and one of our intentions whilst away is to take a peek at the area close to where we’re staying with an eye to a permanent move there next year.  I do hope we fall in love with the area and that the people aren’t unfriendly… I’ll be putting my unfortunate bitchface under strict orders not to show herself too frequently!

Credit & Source: http://v-g.me.uk

Source and Credit: http://v-g.me.uk

I promise not to climb any mountains but I will eat lots of Welsh cakes.

Smell ya later! x

Paris: A Visual Post (part three)

Posted by Lipglossiping On June - 10 - 2013

At the risk of forgetting all about the fact that this is, after all, a beauty blog… I’m posting the final part of my Paris travelogue today. Most of you will be relieved to hear that it also includes a quick mention of the beauty bits and bobs that ended up in my basket along the way.

Day 3 started with an early-ish check out from the hotel who stored our suitcase until we were ready to collect en-route back to Gare du Nord. We wanted to grab some breakfast on the run, and being the thoroughly unhealthy sods that we are currently, we opted for a traditionally Parisian chocolate eclair from L’atelier des Pains. What?!?! WE WERE ON HOLIDAY!  In fairness, we shared.

For those of you who think that chocolate eclairs do not a breakfast make. Get off my blog.

Otherwise, as you were my friends…

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oh God, so good…

We began our final day of sightseeing by jumping on the Metro to Pigalle.  It was at this point that I realised why I hadn’t seen any fat Parisians… there are so many steps in the Metro system that it’s simply impossible to put on weight.  Talking of steps, when we reached ground-level I put my exercise-dodging plan into action and jumped on the Montmartrobus to take us up the back roads of Montmartre to its summit and the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur.

The bus was full of pensioners, physically unable to make the ascent under their own steam… whilst we sat there, being lazy bastards.  With a small amount of shame, I turned to look out of the window, watching the poor sods puffing up the hill alongside, sweat pouring down their faces in the extreme midday heat… cackling to myself all the while.  We got off the bus about 100m from the basilica and and mooched around the back streets and markets for a short while.

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Alphonse Mucha and Toulouse Lautrec are two names synonymous with this district

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I promise I didn’t eat any!

Then it was on to the church itself, a long-held personal favourite spot in the city.  I remembered visiting as a young teen and being about as impressed as a teenager can possibly be with a tourist attraction.  I have to say, despite the crowds and hawkers, it still didn’t disappoint.  So beautiful and so impressive towering over the city.

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you’re all spoiling my photo… get out of the way!

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more steps, suckers!

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the view from the top

We walked around the interior but I have to admit that the number of “squash a penny” machines jingling away didn’t do much to add to the atmosphere inside.  I donated some pennies and lit a tealight in memory of my Nan before heading back outside and down the steps for the descent back into the city centre.  Next stop, The Avenue des Champs-Élysée for a bit of shopping!

You can’t go to Paris without seeing two things.  One of them is the Eiffel Tower, and let’s be honest… it’s pretty hard to miss.  The other?  The Arc de Triomphe!  It’s one of those monuments that if you don’t tick off the list… you haven’t been to Paris!  Saying that, I hadn’t seen it before… well, not close up and I properly fangirled, laughing at the time on Instagram that it was probably a bit weird to fangirl a monument.

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I had to wait for 4 lorries, 2 vans, 43423 mopeds, and a bus to pass before I could take this photo

It was at this point in the day that Mr. L started to groan a little… you see, I had barely done any beauty shopping. I was being so virtuous and pointing out this fact every. single. time. I walked past the entrance to a pharmacy.  “Look how good I’m being!  Aren’t you glad you married me?”

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inside the “pharmacie”

Only, at this point… I caved a bit.  Mostly because I felt as though I was on familiar territory.  Infact… if I’m honest… I basically sprinted towards Monoprix and the next-door English-speaking Pharmacy.  Sure, it’s probably not the best-stocked pharmacy in Paris, and neither is it the cheapest… but I’ve always had really good, non-rushed service inside and I knew I’d be able to pick up what I wanted.  I was more disappointed with Monoprix though which seemed to have bumped most of its lesser-known French high-street lines in favour of the stuff we can get over here anyway.  I boo-ed.

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my Parisian beauty buys

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forgot to include this one in the last shot ha!

I’ll do another post on my purchases soon but the above photos should give you an idea that I was pretty well-behaved non?

Disappointed by my lack of makeup purchases and the fact that I didn’t have time to hunt down a Fragonard, I went and consoled myself with a giant Croque Monsieur and a Creme Brulee (as you do) and the world was (almost) completely mended again.

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Croque Monsieur at Le Comptoir Boetie

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can you hear the “crack”?

Alas, our time in Paris had come to an end and we returned to our hotel to pick up our luggage before heading back to the station for our train home.  All in all, it was a memorable 52-hours in Paris… horrendously expensive and physically exhausting but I wouldn’t have changed a single second of it.

Thanks for reading if you got this far xx

(click for part one and part two)

Paris: A Visual Post (part two)

Posted by Lipglossiping On June - 7 - 2013

Our second day in Paris should have started a few hours earlier than it did.  Our alarm went off at 8am and I hit the snooze button with as much force as I could muster.  Over, and over… and over again.  We eventually left the hotel at 11am, having decided that without the early start under our belts, we didn’t have the resilience to deal with any potential queues at the Catacombs, which for safety reasons, only allows a restricted number of visitors in at any one time.

We opted instead, for a more leisurely stroll through Le Marais, starting at the Place de la Bastille.

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the Parisian Metro system

A quick note on the Metro system… we bought “carnets” of 10 single-use tickets as and when we needed them, instead of the daily Mobilis pass (travelcard), our decision worked out cheaper over the course of three days.  However, the downside was that these tickets constantly became demagnetized by going through security checks at the various tourist attractions.

The Metro staff are at least, clearly used to this and were happy enough to respond to my cries of “ça ne marche pas” whilst frantically waving the tickets about infront of them.  I got used to the eye-rolls eventually.  In other words, if your tickets fail to open the barriers… chances are, it’s not your fault.  Go and get them checked at the ticket window.

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Place de la Bastille

Now, I’m no French history buff but I spent every summer growing up in the West of France, in the Vendee… an area that has a reputation for its anti-revolutionary, royalist history which culminated in an uprising against the republic and the eventual defeat/massacre of over 150,000 Vendeen people… controversially described as the first genocide in modern history.  Infact, in the small field next door to our house remains an underground tunnel believed to lead all the way to the local Chateau which was built as a means of escape for when the going got tough for the local aristrocracy!

The storming of The Bastille (a prison originally located on the site of the above column) in Paris on July 14, 1789 by the city’s commoners led almost directly to the French Revolution.  If you walk around the Place de la Bastille you can see the outline in the ground, marking the location of the prison’s original towers – a hugely understated nod to such an important time in the country’s history!

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Place des Vosges

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The gardens at Hotel de Sully

We moved on in the direction of the Place des Vosges, the oldest planned square in Paris.  It was packed with people enjoying their lunch in the sunshine, and although we only stopped en-route (our tummies were grumbling for lunch), I really recommend it as a place to hide away from the masses.

Now firmly in the historic Le Marais area, we headed into the old Jewish quarter on the hunt for what is often described online as “the ultimate falafel”.  It didn’t take long to spot the lunch queues snaking up the Rue de Rosiers so we joined the line at L’As du Fallafel to get a taste of what we had been missing!

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the lunch queue

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the “falafel special” at L’as du Fallafel on Rue de Rosiers

In order to keep the queue moving quickly at peak times, your order (and payment) are taken whilst standing in line, this means that your food is ready and waiting by the time you reach the front.  Although the queue was long, it was super-efficient and we were walking away with the fattest falafel-filled pittas within 10-minutes of joining.

If you’re on a tight budget – at only 5.50€ each, they make a great purse-friendly option (especially if you find a local park to eat them in and combine them with a cheeky pastry from the patisserie up the road!)

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The Pont d’Arcole looking South West

Bellies filled, we roamed the back streets a little longer before heading across to the Ile de la Cité, onto the major tourist path with Notre Dame firmly in our crosshairs.

The city council have erected a huge (temporary?) grandstand infront of the cathedral, which spoiled every photo opportunity possible and we very nearly didn’t bother joining the queue – which again, was frighteningly long.  I’m glad we did though as it was the fastest-moving line I’d ever seen and we were in within only five-minutes.  What can I say?  Many of these Parisian queues are terribly deceptive!

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Notre Dame’s impressive exterior

Having said that, Notre Dame is definitely more impressive from the outside, not to say that the interior isn’t worth bothering with… but the carvings and sculptures that adorn the facade are something very special, as is the sheer scale of the building.

If you’re up for visiting any other attractions in the vicinity, I thoroughly recommend the lesser-known Sainte-Chappelle, only one block away, with its extensive 13th century stained glass windows which make you feel as though you’re standing inside a kaleidoscope.  It’s an unforgettable experience and truly atmospheric, having often been described as one of the world’s most beautiful buildings.

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the lower chapel at Sainte-Chappelle

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the upper chapel at Sainte-Chappelle

By this point in the day, our feet were killing us, so we escaped the island for somewhere to stop for a glass of wine and a treat before continuing.  As with most tourist cities in Europe, you definitely need to head off the main thoroughfares to get anything that comes close to resembling value for money and for your efforts, you’re generally rewarded with better service and food!

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some of the food choices along the main tourist routes (mmm brie)

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tartes, tartes everywhere!

We had originally planned to take a night-time Seine cruise with Bateaux-Mouches but our feet simply wouldn’t allow us to travel from our random location on the left-bank across to the Pont de l’Alma where these boats departed from… plus the fact that it was still only 6pm and around 3hrs away from nightfall!

In the end, we trudged a few hundred yards onto the Pont Neuf and took a cruise from the smaller company, Vedettes du Pont-Neuf.  It was “ok”, a little rushed perhaps but one of those “things” that you would probably regret not doing, you know?  If you book online in advance, you can get a 5€ reduction per ticket, making it a really affordable experience.

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Later on that evening, we passed by a peaceful demonstration of people showing solidarity with the Turkish citizens… the French sure know how to throw a good protest!

We finished the day with a real trip highlight, a well-timed jaunt up to the top of Montparnasse Tower to see the city’s lights laid out below us.  Rumour has it that the tower has been under threat of demolition for years… the city hates it and considers it a blot on the landscape.  The only thing saving the 210m tall building?  It’s absolutely riddled with asbestos and they simply don’t know how to take it down safely!

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the observation deck – a 360 degree view of the city

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a birds-eye view

For me, it’s one of the best spots in the city from which to appreciate the Eiffel Tower.  I just couldn’t believe how empty it was up there, it seems that so few tourists take advantage of this location and it was a magical spot to watch the sun go down over the horizon.  We spent a good hour up there until just before closing time when we headed back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep ahead of our last day of exploration.

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some instagram shots from day 2

Final day tomorrow… (and a peek at my beauty buys!)

Paris: A Visual Post (part one)

Posted by Lipglossiping On June - 7 - 2013

Well that was tiring.

The fundamental problem with trying to fit 5-days worth of sightseeing into just over 48hrs is that, something… somewhere has to give.  In my case, it was very nearly my sanity (and my feet).

We arrived in Paris at lunchtime on Monday and headed straight to our hotel to make use of their left luggage facilities.  Fortunately for us, they were good sorts and just let us check in early instead.  Our hotel was the Astoria Opera, whose nearest metro stop, Rome, was only a 2-minute walk away.  It’s really well-located for using the public transport and has a great bakery around the corner for late breakfast treats!

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A pretty big room by Parisian standards!

The first thing that I want to recommend for your trip to Paris… is two iPhone apps that were paramount to our enjoyment of the city.  The first is Paris Metro, where a paltry 69p will ensure that finding your route across France’s capital is a doddle and this one doesn’t need a data connection to work either.

The second app that was invaluable for getting around the city was Digi Guide Paris, another inexpensive 69p purchase.  I didn’t really use it as a “guide” but the offline maps capability made sure that I was always headed in the right direction.

These two nifty tools really did ensure that our trip was as stress-free as possible.  A final, honourable mention goes to the free TripAdvisor Paris City Guide which had some useful last minute information on opening times (we found out that one of our intended museums was closed on a Monday thanks to this).  Just make sure that you download as much information as possible for the app before you set off.

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Exterior of The Louvre from Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre Metro exit

As soon as we’d dumped our luggage and caught our breaths, we jumped on the Metro and headed for The Louvre.  I knew in advance that I wanted to make a beeline for the quieter Porte des Lions entrance, and catching sight of the queues snaking into the Pyramid, I was keen to quickly locate it across the courtyard.  Unfortunately, it was closed!

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The Louvre with its famous pyramid!

I had a moment’s frustration (because it should have been open, damnit!) before I engaged plan B and headed for the underground mall at Carousel du Louvre.  Thankfully, we only had to queue for around 10 minutes to buy our tickets and get through security before we were in!

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galleries that go on forever…

When people tell you that it would take days, or even weeks to appreciate the museum properly, they ain’t lying.  If I used only one word to describe this Parisian gem, it would be: overwhelming.  The sheer size of the place is something you can only really appreciate in person but it’s worth ensuring that you’ve got a pair of comfortable shoes on your feet for when you attempt it!

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…end ever!

We literally only discovered about 3% of the museum by concentrating on the major sights but even with our guerrila-style attack on the attraction’s jewels, we still lingered over a few pieces that caught our eyes, in particular, everything on display by Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson who I don’t mind admitting, I’d never heard of before.

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Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa face-to-face with her (many) admirers

I enjoyed documenting the crowds infront of the most well-known pieces more than the art itself.  Mr. L kept laughing at me that I was standing back and taking pictures of everyone else rather than pushing to the front to enjoy what they were capturing.  If you’re really into seeing these masterpieces, it’s well worth getting there for opening time as the ambiance is definitely spoilt by the sheer number of people around you.

You will struggle to have any kind of “moment” with these icons otherwise, so Google for an early-morning action plan, complete with the ideal route for getting through The Louvre before the throngs of people appear behind you!

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The Winged Victory of Samothrace

My favourite spot in the museum (well, of the bits that I saw) was this precise location above the Daru staircase in line with the majestic Winged Victory statue.  It was relatively quiet from up here and gave us a moment to gather our thoughts while gazing down at everyone doing their thing.  I couldn’t help but laugh at all the people taking photos with their iPads, it looks so funny and always puts me in mind of Penny from Inspector Gadget with her computer book!

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Another crowd-pleaser, the Venus de Milo

After our whistlestop tour of The Louvre, we were famished and headed back down into the Carousel du Louvre for a bite to eat.  Unfortunately, it was proper food-court stuff so we settled for a sandwich from McDonalds and promised to self-flagellate later in penance for our sins.  Keeping it real.

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Underneath the pyramid

We had pre-booked a behind-the-scenes Eiffel Tower tour to ensure that we bypassed the worst of the queues and I was so glad I did!  When we arrived, the queues were horrible, definitely don’t be thinking you can rock up to this attraction and wait in line for ten-minutes… we’re talking hours upon hours of queueing.  The excursion I booked was via Cultival.fr and cost around 22€ each which included a guided tour of the bunkers underneath the tower and the operating room of the pillar lifts which were installed over 100-years ago. Nerdy stuff!

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On the ground, looking up!

The thing about the tower is that it just doesn’t disappoint.  You see it in films, on TV, and immortalised in people’s holiday snaps the world over but it just doesn’t compare to standing infront of the structure and looking up.  There’s something about its skeletal form that trumps any skyscraper. Brilliant!

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The incredible view from the 2nd floor

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From across the other side of the river with one of the Bateau Mouches cruises passing by.

Once we’d bored ourselves senseless with the tower’s history, we headed across The Seine over to the Jardins du Trocadero where some daring skateboarders were piling up industrial-sized rubbish bins and ramps to impress the crowd. We grudgingly walked up to the Trocadero above, still not really wanting to leave the tower’s magnetic pull.

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Once we got to the top – dodging the numerous street hawkers on the way – we decided that it was surely time for dinner and headed for a bistro over the road where I’d spent a few happy (and slightly drunken) hours on my last trip to Paris: Cafe Kleber.  We expected to pay through the nose for its location but at 60€ for both of us for two courses and a glass of wine each, it could have been much worse by Paris’ expensive standards.

I’d been hankering after Steak Frites and am pleased to say that this one didn’t disappoint!

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We headed back to the hotel after a Nutella and Chantilly crepe from a nearby food stall overlooking the tower’s dazzling 10pm light show.  What a perfect way to end our first day in Paris!

Here’s some instagram shots from our first day, I was switching between cameras like a loon:

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Day two coming up tomorrow… tell me what your favourite sights of Paris are?  If you haven’t been, what do you dream of visiting in the city of love most of all?

I’m off to Paris!

Posted by Lipglossiping On June - 2 - 2013

Remember when I won a trip to Paris courtesy of Vaseline? Well, I’m jumping on the Eurostar tomorrow and finally taking advantage of my prize… I can’t. bloody. wait!

It’s the first time me and Mr. L have been away on our own in 9 years, so I’m calling it our belated honeymoon… seeing as our actual honeymoon was in Manchester. How romantic?

My little L is looking forward to a couple of nights of endless Disney movies and marshmallows with her Nan and Pops, and me? Well, I’m looking forward to endless steak frites, trips to Monoprix (so classy), and people watching at Trocadero (I don’t even care how expensive the wine is!)

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I’ve got a modest shopping list in my back pocket but I’m hoping that some new stuffs might catch my eye while I’m browsing.  Our itinerary (planned military-style by yours truly) is pretty packed so I don’t know how much shopping time I’ll be able to squeeze in, I also have to remember that I’m not travelling solo!

Incase you’re interested (and because I’d like some tips), my itinerary looks a little something like this:

Monday: Louvre, Musee d’Orsay, Eiffel Tower, Trocadero

Tuesday: Catacombs, Pere Lachaise, Rodin’s Thinker, Sacre Coeur, Notre Dame, Pont Neuf, Seine Cruise

Wednesday: Champs Elysees, Arc de Triomphe, La Defense

The thought of The Louvre frightens me, I know it’s gonna be rammed but I’m ok with being a philistine – I just wanna spot the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, and the Winged Victory of Samothrace.  Some of the other “sights”, we’re probably not going to go inside, well… it depends on the queues…

I’ve only been to Paris once before on a school trip, and once with Vexinthecity, so I’m by no means overly familiar with the city. 

Any tips for eating (not too expensive!), sightseeing, transport etc. are as always, super-appreciated.

I’M SO BLEEDIN’ EXCITED!

À bientôt mes amies! xxxx

Lipglossiping (and family) do Disneyland Paris!

Posted by Lipglossiping On April - 1 - 2013

Happy Bank Holiday Monday, you can put the chocolate down now. Put it down.

I’ve spent the last seven days enjoying all the wonders (mostly food-related) that France has to offer, and loving every minute of it.  We spent two days at Disneyland Paris (on a budget) and three days at my parent’s house in the Vendee, encompassing a 1000 mile+ round-trip seated uncomfortably in the back of a Citroen C3 Picasso.  My daughter was an angel, not once did I hear an “are we there yet” emanate from her lips, I am truly blessed.

If you follow me on instagram, you will have seen plenty of photographic evidence of the aforementioned wonders, both food AND Disney-related… but in the event that you haven’t already been treated to these out-of-focus, overly filtered delights, allow me…

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It really is a bit magical

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I got photobombed by the happiest face EVER

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The Disney Dons

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The view from the Queen of Heart’s castle is pretty impressive

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New best friend. Could she be any prouder?

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New best friend also!

I know that some of you on Twitter were interested in the logistics of my budget Disney break, so… to quickly break it down… we got 2-days of park tickets via a Sun newspaper promotion last November (they do these regularly) for the grand price of £40, our return ferry trip with LDLines came to just under £80 (Dunkirk out, Le Havre back), and a three-night hotel/motel stay on the outskirts of Paris in Torcy (Premiere Classe) came to £110 in total for the three of us (though I think I’d stretch the budget for the next door Campanile hotel next time!)

For lunch, we picnic’ed on sandwiches and pain au chocolat bought from the hotel’s nearby Carrefour, whilst dinner consisted of the 12.99€ menus at the Disney Village Sports Bar and Billy Bob’s Country Western Saloon, both of which were extremely reasonable and included dessert and a beer!  Finally, we bought a carnet of train tickets on arrival at Torcy for 26€ which covered travel to/from Disneyland to the hotel for the entire period.  I wish I’d factored in another day to travel into Paris itself but I wanted to visit my Mum and Dad’s house which I hadn’t seen since 2003-ish.

We may have scrimped in places but it certainly didn’t dampen our enthusiasm or enjoyment, it just meant that Leila got to bring home loads of Disney tat to be honest *le grand sigh*.

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Disneyland Paris 2013_12

Disneyland Paris 2013_14

It was quite busy and the fast-pass system was out of action on a few of the rides but we still managed to make the most of the 48hrs at our disposal.  Leila’s favourite rides (useful for parents of toddlers?) included: Alice’s Curious Labyrinth (mostly because I chased her around, calling her “Alice”), It’s a Small World (I still have the song stuck in my head), Dumbo, The Flying Elephant (but the queues are not worth it!), Casey Jr. – The Little Circus Train, Orbitron, and Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast.

Being rotten parents, we also dragged her on Phantom Manor (“noooo, it’s not scary!”), Pirates of the Carribbean (“nooo you won’t get wet!”)… etc. etc.  The shows were also great, Leila thought that Stitch Live! was pretty much the best thing she’d ever witnessed.

The only ride we missed out on (that wasn’t subject to height restrictions) was the Studio Tram Tour, everytime we went past, the queues were horrible.

Being only 3, I wasn’t sure if Leila was still a little too young to fully enjoy the experience but with the benefit of hindsight, I’d say that it’s a great age to take a little one – she was enchanted by the characters, shows and princesses in a way that only a 3-year old can be.  When she’s older, hopefully we will take her back to enjoy some of the more thrilling rides.

I hope my recap helps anyone who hasn’t been to Disneyland Paris before.  Being a bit of a cynical type who gets wound-up by the up-selling (“would you like to buy a bag/pen/DVD?”) at the local Disney store, I honestly didn’t think I’d enjoy it that much… but the truth is, I may have loved it even more than Leila.

Have you been to Disneyland Paris?  Want to go?  What were your favourite bits?

Back from our holiday! Liverpool & Manchester

Posted by Lipglossiping On August - 27 - 2012

I’m a huge fan of holidaying in the UK.  When L was born, I don’t mind admitting that I was too nervous to take her out of the country but now that she’s grown up enough for me to be able to cope with the flights, we’ve gotten used to being able to sling everything in the back of the car and set off up the motorway instead.  I’ve never been a fan of beaches, I find them too boring for words, coupled with the fact that I roast instead of tan and an all-inclusive just isn’t my idea of fun.

We always stay at the budget hotel chains: Travelodge, Etap and Premier Inn – as-long as they’re clean, the beds don’t make me itch (my biggest fear!), and there’s a working telly in the room – I’m happy.  We use our room as base camp, nothing more – it gets too messy to want to spend time in it with Leila about!  I also don’t usually pay more than £12 a night for a Travelodge room, taking advantage of their frequent sales.  I’m sure now that Leila is about to start nursery, we’ll find ourselves more restricted to school holidays but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it – I’ll still sniff out a bargain!

We usually book around 5/6 day breaks, and the deals often run from a Sunday – Saturday (if you’re lucky enough to get the Friday night).  We’ve literally travelled all over the UK in the past three years and have been able to double our spending money simply by compromising on our accommodation, though I know that wouldn’t sit well with everyone.

Anyway… today, I’m sharing a few Instagram snaps from Liverpool and Manchester.  We spent 3 nights in each city (Liverpool Docklands Travelodge & Manchester Salford Quays Travelodge) – both hotels were fine, the location for Liverpool was a little out of the way though and the walk into town wore us out each day!  On our way in, we noticed a Hotel Formule 1 and an Ibis right opposite Albert Docks and would probably try and stay in one of those next time.

01: A ‘proper’ northern kebab – on naan bread and everything! (down with soggy pittas!)

02: Manchester Town Hall has the most incredible interior ever, the main staircase looks like it should have come from Hogwarts!

03: Leila was a little bit excited about her first tram ride.

04: Manchester Town Hall

05: Paddy’s Wigwam in Liverpool, a.k.a Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King

06: Leila just being my silly little goof!

07: So many lovely tweeps and readers recommended Tokyou Noodle Bar in Liverpool, I couldn’t ignore it. Yum, yum Chicken Satay!

08: L and me on the Hope Street Suitcases!

09: Liverpool Cathedral (Anglican). So. bloody. impressive.

10: The Museum of Liverpool has some pretty corners.

11: Well, when you’re in Liverpool… you just have to, don’t you?

12: Ice cream and sequins.  Girl heaven.

13: Ferry across the Mersey. Yes, I AM a total tourist.

14: The Liver Building, I can’t even tell you how excited I got when I first spotted the birds from a distance.  I swear, I’d been scouring the horizon since Runcorn.

15: The Hope Street Suitcases (again)

16: Leila the Victorian street urchin, exploring Lark Hill Place at Salford Museum.

17: The National Football Museum in Manchester is basically brilliant. Unless you hate football.

18: Stained glass and neon at Liverpool Cathedral.

19: You haven’t been to Manchester if you don’t see at least one Lowry, obviously whilst simultaneously singing “…and he painted matchstalk men and matchstalk cats and dogs”

20: We looked and looked for Fred’s weather map! At Albert Docks, Liverpool.

21: Shadows!  We were really lucky with the weather, who knew it didn’t always rain in the North West?! 😉

22: Welcome to Manchester!

23: And on the sixth day…

24: Manchester Town Hall (bit obsessed – sorry!)

25: Someone please explain this one to me!

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Enough holiday rambles and photos… though you should be pleased that we have the internet ether separating us because I’m one of those irritants who would tie you to your chair until you’d looked through every. single. picture.  Twice.  And commented.  My poor family.

I’ll finish with my holiday highlights, just incase anyone is googling and wants some down to earth tips.

1.  The museums – both cities have amazing museums, many of them completely free (though donations are always appreciated).  You can literally fill your cultural boots and then some.  Or, you could just go around pressing all the buttons like me and Leila.  I thoroughly recommend the People’s History Museum in Manchester, it was a real trip highlight.

2. The eats – there is so much choice, but I am partial to a curry cafe and a kebab.  I know, a disgusting habit – but in my defence, I nearly always choose a spinach-based curry (that’s at least a vegetable right?!) and a chicken tikka kebab (never got drunk enough for a lamb doner!)  Our favourite curry cafe has always been Little Aladdin Cafe, behind the Arndale in Manchester… it’s tiny though, so be prepared to wait and don’t leave without ordering a cheese naan.  Got it?

3. Walk, walk, walk – Other than a couple of obligatory tram rides, we walked everywhere and saw SO many hidden gems and shops that we wouldn’t have discovered from inside a bus.  Both city centres are nicely compact and most sights are within easy walking distance.  Plus, we saved some money and didn’t feel so guilty about those curries as a result!

4. Don’t judge a book by its cover – Cathedrals?  Town Halls?  Yawn right?  Mr. L dragged me into Manchester Town Hall half an hour before it closed (I wanted to go to Starbucks), but I’m so pleased I succumbed.  Keep an open mind and make little detours into sights you don’t think will interest you if they’re close by.  Again, that’s the beauty of walking a city – take a chance on the unlikely attractions and more often than not, you’ll be rewarded with some great memories.

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Hope that wasn’t too boring for you, it’s ok – I’ll let you out of your chair now.

What are your favourite holiday haunts in the UK?  I’m always looking for new inspirations!

We’re off on holiday!

Posted by Lipglossiping On March - 25 - 2012

Today, I’m heading off to Devon for a week… hoping for continued sunshine and plenty of excuses for ice cream. We’re going to the classic English riviera that is Torquay before a couple of nights on the Northern edge of the county near Barnstaple.

photo credit: Mark Robinson

I usually plan my holidays with military precision (before letting it all go awry by the end of the first day) but I haven’t had time to do anything in advance of this one. I have no idea where we’ll go or what we’ll do. To be honest, that makes the control freak in me feel a little bit… antsy. If you have any suggestions, I’m all ears!

So far, all I plan on doing is pretending that I’m in a Famous Five book (I’m probably more Anne than George). I’m going to talk about “coves” a lot, eat many, many cream teas and hopefully take some photos to make me proud. If I remember my camera.

photo credit: Mark Robinson

I’m very excited, all recent holidays have involved more hectic breaks in London and whilst I’ll never get bored of exploring the city, it can get a little bit tiring with Leila in tow (for both of us).  We’ll have the car this week, and I’m literally sitting here grinning with excitement at the thought of all the sea air, beautiful views and unexplored terrain!  I bought a family English Heritage membership last month, hoping to be able to visit a bazillion castles but I’ve just found out that most of them don’t open until April 1st.  Guess the joke’s on me!

Whatever you’re doing this week, have a lovely one!  I’ve got some brilliant guest bloggers coming on board to delight and entertain you and I’ve managed to schedule a couple of posts in myself aswell.

See you soon! x

The Cutting Room Floor #2

Posted by Lipglossiping On July - 20 - 2011

It’s true, we don’t have much need (where did I put my umbrella?) for protecting our locks against sun damage on these drizzly shores at the moment but if you’re planning a Summer holiday to warmer climes don’t forget to pack more protection than just your SPF30!

Our hair can suffer the effects of the sun just as much as our skin and if you’re constantly dipping in and out of the sea or chlorinated pools whilst on your hols, your barnet will return home drier than a sun-dried twiglet.

Welcome to the second installment of The Cutting Room Floor, the segment devoted to Summer hair bits and bobs that have caught my eye over recent weeks!

1.  Aveda Sun Care 2011 (from £14.00)

Aveda Sun Care 2011 lineup comprises of a three-step defence and recovery system:

Aveda Cun Care Protective Hair Veil (£17.50):  A lightweight, water-resistant UV defense mist that forms an invisible screen to help protect hair from sun exposure for up to 16 hours, to minimise colour fading, damage and dryness.

After Sun Hair & Body Cleanser (£14.00):  Aveda Sun Care Hair & Body Cleanser features a colour-safe formula with corn-derived chelator that gently removes chlorine, salt and product residue.

Aveda Sun Care After-Sun Hair Treatment Masque (£16.50):  An intensive cream masque that replenishes hair’s protein balance, moisturises and defends against free radicals and the damaging effects of sunlight.

2.  Dr. Hauschka Neem Hair Oil (£22.95) *

Described as a ‘hero product’ for the Dr. Hauschka line, the Neem Hair Oil contains a rich, replenishing formula that promises to soften and restore hair that has been damaged by treatments, hair tools and the strains of holiday living!

It also lays claim to being able calm itchy, flaky conditions, encourage hair growth and even normalise sebaceous activity on hair that is prone to greasiness!  Best used as a weekly pre-shampoo treatment on most hair types but also recommended as a styling product for those with extra-dry, frazzled locks.  I have a sample here that I’m ITCHING (no pun intended) to put to good use… watch this space!

3.  Vidal Sassoon Contemporary Collection (from £17.99)

From August, Vidal Sassoon is getting a new look.  Clearly fed up with us lot buying up the high street stores in an attempt to reinvent our Summer wardrobe, the iconic hair brand is upping their game to join us!

The purple accents and redesigned packaging give a nod to the hairdresser’s love of geometric lines and asymmetric styling.  The new budget-friendly range in its eye-catching new packaging will be on shelf from August.

4.  Gielly Green Summer GWP offer (£19.50)

If you’re more concerned about the weight of your luggage than anything else this Summer (well not *anything* else, need a life much?), you might be interested in the current offer available at Gielly Green.

My love for their Argan Oil is well documented on here and until the end of August, when you purchase a bottle, you’ll receive complimentary travel-sized Lemon & Muguet Body Wash and Lotions with every order.  Perfect for sticking two fingers up at RyanAir’s baggage restrictions and indulging in a bit of pampering at the same time!

5.  Sachajuan SPF Range (from £18.00) *

Sweden’s hottest hair stylists have hit the UK with a new range expected to delight the socks off beach lovers everywhere.  The SPF line up includes three products designed to offer maximum protection against environmental damage without adding additional weight or build-up to fine hair.

A shampoo, conditioner and UV-busting mousse ensures that your style is protected with long-lasting effects without skimping on nourishment thanks to its very own Ocean Silk Technology formula containing valuable proteins and minerals derived from sea algae.

Sachajuan is available instore at Liberty and online at MichaelJohn Boutique

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Do you have any practical Summer hair tips for holidays?

* press sample

Barielle Holiday Hustle Collection – Holiday 2010

Posted by Lipglossiping On September - 26 - 2010

Witt-Woo! (that’s a wolfwhistle btw!)

Barielle have done it again, that thing I love ’em for… the twist on the normal.  The eclecticness of collections that ensure there’s something for everyone.

Taking a generic creme and adding something special to it… they give their shades an edge.  Something that makes you want to own them regardless of how many dupable colours you have.  MY. ONE. DOESN’T. HAVE. FUCHSIA. GLITTER. IN. IT. etc.. etc..

Woah right?

Elle’s Spell looks positively enchanting…. Gelt Me To The Party looks like it may be the goldiest gold ever and Coalest Day of the Year is a new take on the Winter charcoal/black shades no?

Wrap me in Ribbon… again, I don’t think I have a pink *quite* like this, it makes me think of Christmas baubles!  If there’s one shade that I’m DEFINITELY lemming this Christmas… it’ll be Jess’ Champagne Toast.  I love it when Barielle do the contrasting glitter like that!  Snow Day… probably not so much, a pale green metallic?  Nah… not for me thanks.

5 out of 6 eh?  That’s pretty good going!

Come on Christmas, come on Christmas!

P.S – I’ve got a special 20% off code for you tomorrow, so if you fancied purchasing a few of these shades… that’ll be the time to do it!

NOTD – OPI Holiday Glow

Posted by Lipglossiping On January - 21 - 2010

So, it’s not the Holidays anymore… it’s mid January and I certainly don’t feel very ‘glowy’.  Wearing this now, makes me incredibly unfashionable and like “SO” last season… Regardless, check this beautiful shade out!

OPI Holiday Glow is a 3 coater to fill in any baldy patches and get the best from it.  It’s undoubtedly a glitter but you could get away without using a top coat if you were feeling particularly lazy thanks to the small, smooth glitter particles.

I couldn’t decide if the base colour was brown or burgundy, so I’m calling a” BRugurndy”.  See how I did that?  No, please don’t applaud, you’ll only make me blush.  The glitter is a nice mixture of gold and silver, the combo works so well as a whole.

I ended up buying 2 of these by accident.  I thought I’d bought this and Merry Midnight… turns out, I’d just bought 2 of these.  No matter, I’m giving one away on twitter this evening.  So, if you fancy being tragically last season too, find me on there to be in with a shot of winning it.

Do you like? This is probably one of the most sophisticated glitters I own… I love that OPI wide brush too…

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